December 3, 2019
Local councils are trying to keep up with the rising costs of home to school transport for children with special educational needs due to population increases and legislation changes. Around 550,000 children receive free transport to school every year and approx. 145,000 of them are special educational needs (SEN) pupils.
A Local Government Association (LGA) report found councils in England are spending more on home-to-school transport than they spend on other children’s and youth services. The report showed that councils spent 30% more on SEN transport in 2017/18 compared to 2013/14 figures. This equates to £323m and they have predicted this could rise by £127m in the next five years.
The number of SEN students across England counties has risen by 7,592 in 2018 compared to 2014 The vast majority of council expenditure is dedicated to taxis, minibuses and private hire vehicles needed to transport the pupils to and from school safely and funding because severely lacking! There’s also a shortage of suitable local schools meaning councils need to pay more to transport pupils to specialist schools further away from their homes.
Call for Legislative Change
Findings also show that some councils have had to cut spending on transport by 27 per cent. These cuts mean that 10,000 fewer children are receiving free home-to-school transport compared to five years ago.
Interestingly, there has been a similar increase in the number of children enrolling in special education schools forcing campaigners to call for a change to the whole system.
Councillor Keith Glazier said: “These rising costs of special educational needs transport and wider financial pressures facing councils have resulted in authorities significantly reducing other school transport services.”
Cost-Effective Transport Solutions
At Allied Fleet, we offer a unique selection of adapted and special purpose vehicles. We design and build high-quality vehicles to meet diverse transport applications including transport for SEN schools.
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